Do you know the most compelling evidence to me of who we are in Christ? He is unnamed. We’re not exactly sure the crime he committed. We just know that it wasn’t by accident that he was scheduled to be executed the same day Jesus was crucified. Most executions were not attended by crowds. Most crucifixions didn’t cause a stir. For this unnamed criminal, his most embarrassing moment became his most exhilarating. His most confining moment became his most liberating. He was crucified…and rightly so. He was guilty of crimes.
Jesus was crucified right beside him…and for no good reason. He was falsely accused.
This unnamed criminal, hanging naked, bleeding, writhing in pain on the cross, saw something in Jesus that the Romans soldiers refused to see. He saw something in Jesus that the Jewish leaders refused to see. He saw something in Jesus that the other thief refused to see. He also saw his sinful self.
Do you know what happened? That day, the naked, destitute, friendless, guilty criminal became a saint. What grace from the cross when Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” He had no time to join the church, no time to mend fences, no time to make restitution. He didn’t have to. He was crucified with Jesus…literally…and he was crucified with Jesus spiritually. He had a new relationship.
From criminal to citizen. From outcast to insider. From a thief to a saint. In just one moment.
If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, that’s what happened to you.
I know. It’s scandalous.